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How to survive Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus

Hey guys, I hope you are enjoying the series on the Nigerian Law School campuses. Next stop, the Yenagoa Campus.

Hey! Kindly introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello, I’m Naomi Ekop, avid reader who loves playing games with such tenacious consistency (which I should definitely consider channeling elsewhere) and I also dabble into research, writing and DIY crafts. You can find me on Facebook: Naomi Ekop or Twitter: @nayomi_FL.

How did you feel when you saw your NLS campus posting?
I had mixed feelings as I would be going to a town I knew next to nothing about though I was glad it was close to home. On the other hand, it wasn’t the choice my family had hoped I would get (which was Abuja).

How was the resumption and registration process?

I resumed early Monday morning (the very first day) and registration was to start by 9am but didn’t start till 12 noon. Some students had even arrived the day before (temporary accommodation was available). My first impression was ‘This place is quite small’. The staff (P.S we had nice and awesome lecturers too) were quite friendly and welcoming (and I would say contrary to my expectations which involved a healthy fear of bureaucracy in public institutions). Registration was quite straightforward once you had the necessary documents and passport photographs (there are photographers though it’s a money-making opportunity for them). The fact that we were few also helped, so it depends on you, resume early and you'll also avoid the hassle of combining registration and classes. Registration involved a central point registration, making photocopies, medical clearance and room allocation.

Tell us about the accommodation? Are there any options, like different sizes of rooms with better amenities?

Rooms were allocated according to registration numbers. The rooms accommodate 5 persons (save the common room which had to accommodate much more). As God would have it, I got a room that could only hold 4 but it was one of the spacious rooms and 3 amazing roommates) with adjoining bathroom and toilet. The executive hostel was given to the males because they were more in number and provided for 2 persons per room for an additional 50k.

Any contraband not allowed in hostel? 

Just the usual contraband prohibited according to the rules, including but not limited to cooking utensils, drinks and cigarettes. Also, sharp objects are not allowed (I was specifically asked about scissors). We were allowed to use electric kettles.

 How long do lectures last for? How did you cope with those hours?

Lectures were initially said to be from 9am to 2pm but could be extended based on the lecturer’s prerogative. Most lectures were divided into two parts – Overview and Group presentation with a 30-45 minutes break in between. I tend to be blessed with the capacity for sitting in one place for long hours (lol) but you’ll get used to it (or not, and also depending on the seat too, I might add).

Did you ever have time to read before class or make notes?

I initially thought I would make notes before classes but that didn’t work. I also tried making notes after, still didn’t work out. I settled for making notes during classes and reading my textbooks. I had group meetings (despite what you hear or even see, please attend and participate in group meetings) usually by 7pm (when there was a task) so I made efforts to read from 5pm and any time left after the group meeting. This was mostly to familiarize myself with the topic for the next day (and also being wary of the mic getting to me, Lol).
Does your campus allow for printed handouts?

Our lecturers didn’t give printed handouts and rarely gave out their power-point slides. There were quite a number of materials and notes of former students in circulation but we were adequately warned of the dangers of relying on them. I didn’t buy any hardcopies but from those I looked at, the warnings were not misplaced as some of them are not in tandem with the current position of the law (so be very careful).

 Let's talk about the food? What are the good food spots around campus or in town?

You can’t cook in law school so you have to buy food. There are food joints within the school, though a couple of them closed up during our stay. There was “Iya Calabar” (highly patronized and you may get really excited about the food till you get to the point where you have to make some tough decisions based on quantity and attitude); Afro-goshen (the girls there are very welcoming and it has a nice atmosphere), Jemp Catering (can’t say so much cause I only went there in the first few weeks) and a Stall that prepared and sold only indomie (according to your preferences). Across the school gate was a woman who was available between 11am and 1pm and along the roads were Mmasi (a lifesaver at night when places in school were closed for the day), fruit stalls, bole and fries stands.
In town there was Tombia (for lovers of peppery food), Market Square (try their bread first), Bukka Swallows, Pepperoni and Crunchies (if you have the money to spend, not daily I hope).

Any fun experiences you had during your stay? Share with us.

I believe most of the fun I had was with my roommates turned sisters (we gisted and laughed a lot, making me forget sometimes the tension law school is often associated with), my Chapel of Hope and CLASFON family (trust me, you don’t want to miss being a part of this family), whether in class, hostel or Chapel and listening to the stories and lessons passed across by our Pastors - priceless). We had carol and drama nights and a Worship concert. I got to hangout at Exhale Cinemas and Pizzeria with friends (more like sisters), though this was at the end of the session.

What's the cost of living? Does one need 30 billion in the akant?

Most of what you actually spend money on is food. In addition, cost of printing and photocopying (if you happen to be a group leader, come up with a system of collecting money for printing from your group members so you don’t spend from your pocket) and transport (depending on how frequently you go out).

You might like: How to survive Nigerian Law School, Enugu Campus

What's the preferred means of transportation? What's the transport fare from the airport?

Keke, which are relatively cheap (you hardly find a taxi or intra-state bus). You are allowed to come with your private cars, if you do have one. Also, Yenagoa doesn’t have an airport and the nearest is the Port-Harcourt airport (a trip from Yenagoa to Port-Harcourt costs between ₦500 and ₦1000 on an average).

Any strict rules on dressing to class?

By now you should be well conversant with dress codes for law students from your university days. The rules are basically the same, but since its law school, the rules may fluctuate sometimes. Ladies, do stick to dark-coloured weaves and attachments, plain black shoes (heels or flats), dark-coloured bags (brown, black and dark blue) and avoid off-white shirts. Black gowns are allowed. Grey and dark-blue were also allowed. For males, it’s simpler, though short sleeved shirts are not allowed and it’s advisable to have laced shoes. We were allowed to wear trad on Fridays.

What did you do to cool off after class or during the weekend?

After classes, most times its food, sleep, reading and then group meetings. You may not really have so much time to cool off because of the way the timetable is arranged but on weekends, you can go to town to see a movie or two at Exhale Cinema at Erepa road or Nostalgea Cinema at Tombia. You could also pay a visit to Steve Aziki’s Library or Oxbow lake to chill with friends and take pictures or Pizzeria or other nice eateries in town.

What did you think about the 3 compulsory law school dinners?

Dinners are actually a fun time! Don’t get high expectations about the food though. Be proficient in the use of cutleries to avoid fumbling or doing nothing while others are eating (but you’re allowed to stay behind after the Benchers leave to finish up, so no need to eat in panic) and ladies, learn to walk in heels (yes, it’s mandatory).The first dinner seemed so tense but it got better. Get to the venue on time in your regulation wear (black jackets/suits and law school scarves/ties, take pictures (photographers are usually around) and make memories. Be present (body and mind) so you can learn the procedure, prayers and loyal toast (could be an exam question in Ethics).

Tips for preparing for bar finals, especially during externship?

Bar Finals is only a mountain to those who see it as such; to others it’s just a stepping stone to becoming who God wants you to be. Start preparing for success from the first day and start in your mind. Never entertain fear no matter what you see or hear.
Externship is NOT a holiday. Know yourself. What works for one person may not work for another. You may decide to stay back in school or go home or stay with a friend. Whatever your decision, consider the amount of disturbance, cost of transport and feeding. Have a plan before externship begins but be ready to adjust due to court sittings or when your chamber will require you to close (some may keep you till 6pm). CLASFON prepared an ‘Externship Reading Plan’ covering all courses and topics that really helped. Try to touch all topics and know your Rules of Professional Conduct. A lot of discipline is required in this period. Don’t stay away from your place of placement because Bar Finals (MCQ and theory) is becoming more practical. What you observe and learn during externship will go a long way in helping you understand what you learned in class.

Any advice for someone about to enter the Nigerian Law school?

God first – so you don’t crumble under the pressure and you’ll come out excellently well. Don’t be in a hurry to buy all the textbooks and materials you see or hear about. Know what works for you and stick to it (but be flexible) so you don’t feel pressured by others. Though the workload is much, if you start well by reading bit by bit, in the end you will be on top of your game. If you start to read early and follow your lecturers well, with your textbooks, you may not need any other extraneous material that will surely be circulating around school. It will help for you to draft in class. Don’t let them pile up. Don’t be intimidated by that ‘oversabi’ person (there always is) in the class who asks and answers all the questions, gets into arguments with lecturers and provides the latest authorities. Learn to filter information with what you are told in class (what your lecturers say most times overrides even the textbooks). The campus is small and the time is short so try to avoid scandals. Live above reproach.

So you got Yenagoa - most people don’t usually opt for this campus but set your mind to make the most of it. Don’t let your only story be just that you read 24/7. Grow, make new friends and I invite you to be a part of the best support system in Yenagoa Campus – Chapel of Hope and Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria.

See you at the top!

I hope this was a fun read for you. Feel free to contact  Naomi if you have any questions on Yenagoa campus. 

Thanks for stopping by, see you in my next post. 

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